After spending 3 weeks at number 1 last month with their latest single ‘Shout Out To My Ex’, Little Mix have finally released their fourth album ‘Glory Days’. Following on from last year’s smash hit ‘Get Weird’, the new album sees the foursome become a little more mature in their music, but that doesn’t mean they’ve grown up. Not in the slightest.
With five years of experience behind them since they won the X Factor, ‘Glory Days’ sees the group try to expand their fanbase and reach out to older listeners who previously saw their music as only being for young girls.
The album kicks of with it’s massive lead single ‘Shout Out To My Ex’, a song that made it onto my top 10 Little Mix releases last month. Acting almost as a sequel to their previous single ‘Hair’, the song is a loud, defiant anthem about being grateful to their exes for making them realise how much better off they are without them. It’s everything that a Little Mix single should be – fun, empowering and just a little bit sexy – and is the perfect way to set the tone for the album.
‘Shout Out To My Ex’ isn’t the only break-up track on the album with ‘No More Sad Songs’ thrown in there too towards the end. As the song’s title suggests, the girls don’t want to hear any more sad songs as they try to get lost in the music and forget about their ex, even
if just for one night. The funky number is one that definitely grows on you and makes you want to throw your hands up in the air. It’s impossible not to find yourself grooving along to it.
Of course, where there’s break-up tracks there are ballads, and as with any pop music album there always has to be one or two of them thrown in for good measure. ‘F.U.’ and ‘Nobody Like You’ fill that criteria perfectly. The former is a dramatic, swaying tune about constantly being roped in by someone you know is untrustworthy. The heartbreak of the song is expertly woven through the girls’ vocals and brilliantly captures the feelings of torment that the lover in question puts them through. The latter is far more of a traditional ballad musically as the girls sing about struggling to get over someone they loved. Although the addition of processed vocals on parts of the track take away some of its subtle beauty, the girls’ voices shine through, particularly from Perrie whose well-documented heartbreak seems to be an inspiration for this album.
Another ballad-esque track on the album is ‘Your Love’ which seems to find the mix between happy and sad on this emotive love song. The group’s vocals truly soar towards the song’s climax and their melodies are wonderfully on-point throughout the whole track. Unfortunately for ‘Your Love’ it get’s lost amongst the other slow songs in the way that ‘I Love You’ did on ‘Get Weird’, but it’s still a great edition to the album in its own right.
The remainder of ‘Glory Days’ is a lot more upbeat, with many of the songs emblazoned with the stamp of eccentricity that was so prominent on ‘Get Weird’. ‘You Gotta Not’, ‘Power’ and ‘Freak’ are notable tracks on the album that show of the girls’ personalities perfectly with their quirkiness shining through both in the lyrics and the vocals. ‘Power’ in particular is a pop explosion that sees the track jump all over the place for 4 whole minutes as the girls declare that they are in charge. Hard to argue with that. Moreover, ‘Private Show’ is the perfect song for nostalgia that sees noughties pop get a modern twist as the girls groove along to the funky track. The music is almost a throwback to the girl groups that came before them who moved aside to let Little Mix become the new UK queens of pop.
Also a perfectly eccentric tune is ‘Beep Beep’ from the deluxe edition of the album. Sure to catch the attention of unimpressed parents, the track sees the girls taking things a little risque as they sing about being ‘too busy dreaming of jumping on your —-‘ and wanting to ‘just —- you tonight’. The song is no more suggestive than some of the tracks from ‘Get Weird’, in particular ‘A.D.I.D.A.S.’ which was chock full of innuendos, but it comes after the heaps of criticism that has been thrown at Little Mix suggesting that they’ve become too sexualised. In this blogger’s opinion the criticism is unwarranted, especially when it compares them to how they were on X Factor given back then they were teenagers and now they’ve matured into young women. But I won’t get into that now or we’ll be here for days…
Although none of the tracks on ‘Glory Days’ are complete misses, some of them conform too much to the modern pop sound that’s dominated the charts in the last few years. ‘Down and Dirty’ especially has the girls take on more of a club sound than their music has ever done previously, with it’s grime-like beats. Whilst the track evokes the experimental nature of ‘Lightning’, one of their best tracks from their last album, it gives me concern for the direction the group’s music could end up going if they lose the personality that makes their music standout. ‘Touch’ also seems to go this way a little when it hits the chorus, although the acoustic version included on the deluxe edition of the album manages to save the track from losing most of its substance.
Another non-event on the album is Charlie Puth collaboration which sounds more like a reject from the ‘Marvin Gaye’ recording session than a Little Mix hit. The track is perfectly nice, but there is nothing about the song that makes it special and so it’s easily forgotten in the mad party that makes up the majority of ‘Glory Days’. On a positive note, Puth’s voice fits beautifully with that of the girls, making for, at the very least, a very pleasing vocal performance .
From the bottom to the top, the best track on ‘Glory Days’ is unquestionably the closing song for the standard edition of the album, ‘Nothing Else Matters’. A massive anthem about not letting the little things get in the way, the love song can be interpreted as being a shout out for the group’s fans as they declare hat ‘nothing else matters like us, nothing else matters but love’. With it’s sweeping production that builds throughout the track, the girls’ powerful vocals and the empowering chant during the bridge, ‘Nothing Else Matters’ ranks up their as one of Little Mix greatest songs EVER! It’s the perfect way to end the album.
‘Glory Days’ may not quite match up to it’s predecessor, but it has to be taken into consideration that ‘Get Weird’ was an incredible pop album by a group whose limits know no bounds. These girls hardly ever take a step wrong with their music and album number 4 is no different.
Only two girl groups in the last few decades have had more than 4 albums and their chemistry pales in comparison to these four young women. Within days of Little Mix winning the X Factor, the media were already talking about Perrie going solo and the group not lasting, but look at them now. After five years in the music industry the girls are stronger than ever and show no sign of stopping anytime soon.
So come next Friday Jade, Jesy, Leigh-Anne and Perrie will all be hoping that their latest album does what their previous efforts have never managed to do – reach number one on the UK charts. With last year’s album their best selling by a mile, and Little Mix’s popularity rising by the day, I’d say that this time the girls have got it in the bag!